Skip to main content

A Month of Sundays

Found via peaceable kin-dom is this interesting article from a Seattle newspaper, The Stranger, where a group of atheist/agnostic writers visit thirty faith communities (mostly churches) in Seattle and give short, funny, irreverent, eye-opening, sometimes thoughtful reflections on their experiences. Most of them don't seem open to finding meaning in the services, which isn't surprising given the nature of the assignment, but some of the reflections show that the experiences were at least thought provoking.

What would someone who was an atheist or agnostic write about attending worship at your church? I'm sure they would find some things to be quirky at St. Paul's, but hopefully they'd also find people to be genuine and friendly. The reflections are particularly harsh on 'contemporary Christian music' in worship, which may or may not surprise you, and generally the responses reflect a great fear of being singled out as a visitor - something to think about. (Have you ever been singled out as a visitor in worship before? I've had this happen, and usually am extremely embarrassed. I may stand up in front a lot, but I'm an introvert!) Anyway, interesting reading.

Comments

Christopher said…
Read 1-10...mostly predictable cynacism (which means that the atheists in Seattle have a lot in common with the Christians I know in most places). But number 10, I found to be honest and a relief. I'll go back later to read the rest.
Christopher said…
I made it a point to go through each report and highlight something important. Doing this made me see te value of their experiment and the ways the church fails and succeeds. Very good article in the end.
Anonymous said…
but hopefully they'd also find people to be genuine and friendly ... hopefully? I think this is something every church can work on ... people genuinely noticing each other and not only hanging out with the in and safe crowd.

I agree it's horrible to be singled out -and to receive a cheer or clap - for having turned up ... yuck ... better to have a welcome package and for an usher to notice newbies - check that they are indeed that - and give them a welcoming gift and introduce them to someone.

We have a lot to learn ...

Popular posts from this blog

re-post: devotional life for progressive Christians

I posted this a while back before anyone was really reading this blog. Now that more people seem to be stopping by, I thought I'd put it out there again with some edits/additons since it's been on my mind again... Do you find it difficult to have any sort of devotional time? When I was growing up, I was almost compulsive about my personal Bible Study, devotion time, etc. Somewhere along the way, I got more and more sporadic. In part, I found myself frustrated with the devotional books that I considered theologically too conservative. I find it hard to bond with God when you're busy mentally disagreeing with the author of whatever resource you're reading. My habit was broken, and I've never gotten it back for more than a few weeks at a time. So, a disciplined devotional/prayer/bible-reading life - is it something I should be striving to get back, or something that is filled by other ways I am close to God? This is a debate I have with myself all the time. On the

Sermon for the First Sunday in Advent, "Hope: A Thrill of Hope," Mark 1:1-8

Sermon 11/26/17 Mark 1:1-8 Hope: A Thrill of Hope             Are you a pessimist or an optimist? Is the glass of life half empty, or half full? My mom and I have gone back and forth about this a bit over the years. She’s wildly optimistic about most things, and sometimes I would say her optimism, her hopefulness borders on the irrational. If the weather forecast says there’s a 70% chance of a snowstorm coming, my mom will focus very seriously on that 30% chance that it is going to be a nice day after all. I, meanwhile, will begin adjusting my travel plans and making a backup plan for the day. My mom says I’m a pessimist, but I would argue that I’m simply a realist , trying to prepare for the thing that is most likely to happen, whether I like that thing or not. My mom, however, says she doesn’t want to be disappointed twice, both by thinking something bad is going to happen, and then by having the bad thing actually happen. She’d rather be hopeful, and enjoy her state of

Sermon for Second Sunday in Advent, "Peace: All Is Calm, All Is Bright," Isaiah 11:1-10, Mark 13:24-37

Sermon 12/3/17 Mark 13:24-37, Isaiah 11:1-10 Peace: All Is Calm, All Is Bright             “Silent night, holy night. All is calm, all is bright. Round yon’ virgin mother and child. Holy infant, so tender and mild. Sleep in heavenly peace. Sleep in heavenly peace.”             This week, I read news stories about North Korea testing a missile that perhaps could reach across the whole of the United States.             This week, I spoke with a colleague in ministry who had, like all churches in our conference, received from our church insurance company information about how to respond in an active shooter situation. She was trying to figure out how to respond to anxious parishioners and yet not get caught up in spending all of their ministry time on creating safety plans.             This week, we’ve continued to hear stories from people who have experienced sexual assault and harassment, as the actions, sometimes over decades, of men in positions of power have been